“And now we turn from sadness to joy…” My dad said those words every Friday night when he would transition his congregation from the mourners’ kaddish to the Shabbat kiddush. I thought of them yesterday as our students rose the Israeli flag from half mast, where we had lowered it the day before in memory of Israel’s fallen soldiers, to full mast, where it waved in the breeze, ushering in our joyful celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut.
This year, Israeli Independence Day coincided with Carol Rubin Day of Jewish Music, Study and the Arts, a day we set aside each year to connect with Jewish texts through art, music and dance.
All of the projects followed the theme that Israel selected for Independence Day this year – Achava, brotherhood or sisterhood. Our youngest students painted pictures of animals and made posters of what they might be saying to one another in friendship. Our oldest students learned about archaeology and unearthed (pun intended) how or why archaeology creates or challenges our concept of Achava.
And for the first time this year, our 185 Mirowitz students joined together as a school community on the parking lot to dance an Israeli dance, together, yet safely socially distant.
The joy was palpable…both for Israel and for this reunion. We know that both come on the shoulders of those who gave so much, those who fought for their country and those who fought for data-based decisions to bring children together in a pandemic. We turned from sadness to joy, from mourning to celebration, from separation to reconnection. We are grateful for all of these blessings.
It is with gratitude to all of you that I wish you a Shabbat of joy, wonderment and Shalom.